Heavy rains Friday wreaked havoc on area storm sewers in the Midlands

Updated: Dec. 16, 2019 at 7:32 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Several inches of rain in a matter of hours caused flooding and swamped storm sewers in some areas of the Midlands.

Blue Granite Water company said the heavy rain came at a bad time, during the final weeks of the decommissioning of a retired Midlands wastewater treatment facility, and that contributed to a sludge discharge near Rawls Creek in Irmo.

That wastewater treatment facility is located off Greenbriar Road.

Those with Blue Granite Water Company said crews have been on the ground at the Friarsgate Wastewater Collection System since early Friday afternoon and have contained the spill and remediated the site. Signs are still posted in the neighborhood to keep residents apprised of the situation.

Officials said the sludge has been burned up and crews are using lime to eliminate pathogens. It’s unclear how much sludge was released into the creek. A spokesperson with the company said the facility should be fully decommissioned and decontaminated by the New Year, barring any weather delays.

Meantime, Richland County Utilities advises residents who live along Hollingshed Creek to stay out of the water until the final test confirms there are no issues with the water there. The utility’s maintenance team stopped a sewer overflow on Friday caused by a faulty pump at a station that resulted in untreated sewage entering the creek in the northwest area of the County. RCU lab staff took another sample today with results available Tuesday.

WIS also received a statement from SCDOT regarding sewer backups and the measures underway to mitigate them in the future. In part, the statement reads:

“Problem areas discovered during last Friday’s storms are being examined today for openness and flow in preparation for the upcoming weather event. Considering catchbasins as only one part of the total system: with an estimated 20,000 catchbasins in the greater Columbia area, we definitely appreciate others being our eyes and letting us know of issues as they arise.”

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